A group of 22 Republican state Attorneys General are fighting a recent rule announced by President Biden requiring federal government suppliers to disclose emissions and climate-related financial risk data, and to set science-based emissions reduction targets.
In a letter by Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron and West Virginia AG Patrick Morrisey, and signed by 20 other attorneys general, the AGs argue that the rule oversteps the authority of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FARC), and would significantly impact the economies of states that rely on fossil fuels.
In November 2022, President Biden proposed a new Federal Supplier Climate Risks and Resilience Rule, amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require all federal contractors with over $7.5 million in annual contracts to report Scope 1 and 2 emissions, and contractors with over $50 million to also publicly disclose relevant categories of Scope 3 emissions, as well as climate-related financial risks. The rule would also require contractors with greater than $50 million in contracts to set emissions reduction targets to be validated by the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi).
The proposals form part of the Biden administration’s Federal Sustainability Plan, which outlines a series of goals and initiatives for the U.S. federal government to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, and includes a target to cut emissions from federal procurement to net zero by that date.
The U.S. government is the world’s largest buyer of goods and services, with purchases reaching $630 billion last year.
The letter argues that FARC, the agency established to assist in the direction and coordination of Government-wide procurement, was not granted the authority by Congress to implement climate change policy, and that the President cannot direct the agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, citing a court opinion that similarly ruled that the administration could not leverage the federal procurement system to impose a COVID vaccine mandate.
The AGs also state that the proposal is “bad policy,” based on FARC’s estimate that it will impose $4 billion in costs over the next ten years, and their suggestion that this will disproportionately impact fossil fuel producing states. The letter also raises concerns about delegating authority to SBTi to validate climate targets, arguing that it places U.S. military projects “at the mercy of a foreign institution,” and doesn’t provide a remedy for contractors that the organization refuses to validate.
In a statement announcing the publication of the letter, Kentucky Attorney General Cameron said:
“Requiring federal contractors to adopt extreme ‘green’ initiatives or forfeit their livelihoods threatens Kentucky’s economy and promotes the radical climate policies of a few at the expense of the many. We need energy solutions that grow our economy and help hardworking Kentuckians, and we are doing everything we can to halt the President’s efforts to harm the Commonwealth’s economy and hinder our nation’s energy independence.”
Click here to access the letter.